The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) has received its first two NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopters (NFH) from Leonardo’s Venice Tessera final assembly facility in Italy.

The helicopters were handed over during a ceremony that was attended by representatives of the QEAF, Leonardo and NHIndustries.

NHIndustries, jointly owned by Leonardo, Airbus and GKN Fokker, signed a contract with QEAF in 2018 to deliver NH90 helicopters under a modernisation programme.

The delivery of the two helicopters marks another milestone in the QEAF’s NH90 programme.

The programme includes the purchase of 16 NH90 tactical transport helicopters (TTH) for land operations and 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions.

The programme can also be extended with an additional six units each of TTH and NFH variants.

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The contract with Leonardo included the assembly and delivery of 12 NH90 NFHs from its Venice Tessera facility.

As the prime contractor for QEAF’s programme, Leonardo will also provide associated infrastructure, simulators, training aids, comprehensive maintenance and support for aircrews and technicians.

Other support includes the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including an automatic identification system, and Leonardo’s LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, among others.

Deliveries under the NH90 programme are expected to continue until 2025.

In December last year, Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Marignane, France, delivered the first TTH to QEAF while the second was delivered recently.

The NH90 aircraft features a composite airframe with a large cabin and a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system to minimise pilot workload.

Around 470 NFH and TTH variants of the NH90 are currently in service with different nations, with around 330,000 flight hours clocked in performing several missions under all weather and environmental conditions both on land and sea.